Long time Progress

After a good first year, there is no real improvement in my FTP since 3 years of structured TR training.
Searching the Internet, I found a lot of TR users which are stuck with their FTP.
Is this mostly common ? Is there anybody making improvements after 1 or 2 years?

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If you want to progress you have to add more strain somehow. Be that more volume or more intensity. If you do the same thing (i.e. the same TrainerRoad) program over and over your won’t progress.

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Welcome to the TR forum. :smiley:

As you note, yours is a relatively common question. Here is a search result with many existing threads that are worth a read to see similar experiences and some recommendations.

Here is a slightly different search within the podcast section, to maybe find some TR AACC comments about plateaus.

Some blog info:

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Thanks for your help. But the question of this topic was not how to improve FTP.

I wanted to know how many athletes are still improving after a year or two.

Copy that. Without a somewhat extensive survey, it’s hard to know. We can all post our N=1 experience and get some picture, but it is far from a complete view.

I have been on TR since Nov 2015, and am still hitting power PR’s in my 6th season on their plans. I’ve seen people move away from TR into other apps or training options, some because of plateaus, and hit new gains with those different programs.

As with any training option, results will vary, and we see that range on display in a number of different threads. The “Results” category has success stories, not to mention the relatively new podcast, that has many detailed discussions from a range of athletes with short and long time on TR.

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How can i get a more intense training when the Training is ftp based and my ftp is stuck?

Without knowing specifics of your prior history, the simple answer is “different” training.

  • If you have always followed a particular Base > Build > Specialty progression, you can consider choosing something different in some or all of those phases.
  • Ex: if you have always done Sustained Power Build, consider either Short Power or General Build. Each phase focuses on different energy systems and intensities. Swapping from a well worn one to something different, can challenge your body in new ways and potentially lead to new adaptions.

And to mention one aspect that gets missed on occasion, make certain that you have “recovery” that is appropriate for your training and lifestyle. Insufficient recovery can also lead to plateau’s, because it leads incomplete adaptation by the body. It may cause poor workout performance, or keep you from allowing enough rest for the body to make the positive changes we seek.

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Great Question.

You could write a book on it, a very thick book, so to cut it down to a chapter further information is required, because it ‘depends’ on sporting & endurance history and lifestyle.

Having said that basically

  • Progress will plateau sooner if you have a history of endurance sports
  • You have to find new ways to stress the body.
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This seems like a very broad question, but how do you test your FTP? Do you perform the ramp test every 4-6 weeks and just end up with the same number?

Also, are you able to complete all of the workouts in your plan, or are you struggling to get through them?

Q1: Is it common? A: Yes getting stuck but mainly if not off the couch, and also more common if you are already trained in an endurance sport or cycling prior to TR.

Q2: Is there anybody making improvements after 1 or 2 years? A: Yes, and big improvements, but there is no magic bullet, and generally it is only possible if you make do-able lifestyle changes (that most should make in sport or not) or have a low stress life and time to train and recovery more/better.

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I can complete all training, but when it comes to the ramp test I fail mostly after 18-19 min and my ftp stays the same.

In the past years I tried different approaches and plans. and when reading in this forum I get the feeling that there is always an improvement in the first year, but it seems often to stop in the next years.

Perhaps this feeling isn’t right, but on the otherhand if it’s normal to get stuck after a year I could relax and accept it instead of being frustrated the whole time.

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I can relate to your frustrations with the ramp test. I stopped performing the ramp test pretty early on, as I did not feel like it was an accurate depiction of the power I could actually maintain.

If you are able to complete all of the workouts in a plan, why not try manually bumping up your FTP by 5 watts over the next block and see if you are able to complete those workouts? Sure maybe your ramp test “FTP” isn’t improving, but if you keep hitting higher watts for your sweet spot, threshold and VO2 Max efforts by pushing the intensity, then who cares about the number.

Just my 2cents, of course.

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+this.

Possibly something about the ramp test itself isn’t working for you? Manually bump your FTP or manually increase the % in the workouts themselves to add intensity. If you can always complete the workouts you are doing, maybe your workouts just need to be harder.

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For example - if you have Sweet Spot workout you could do threshold workout - bum, intensity. But intensity requires also proper recovery and fueling. You can also extend workouts - make intervals longer or more of then. If you are doing TR plans over and over - only solution would be increasing volume od training.

I plateaud for about 3 months after a year of structured training mostly sweet spot using Zwift plans and TR. Switched to Short Power Build and after 4 weeks, got a 12 watt boost on my ftp test. I have gone back to sustained power build with an ftp test next week…so we’ll see…I don’t feel stronger to be honest. I think I respond better to higher intensity. Have you tried changing it up?

I tested on Saturday - coincidentally also 12W up. I know plan how to change training composition to add more variability and start to stack workouts day after day to introduce more stress.

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Just a thought, but have you tried reducing your ftp a few % just for the ramp test? It’ll change the steps and might help you through any psychological issue with the 18/19 minute mark. Something to change going through the motions.

I’ve seen good results over a few years and more when consistency is applied to training and I’ve also seen drops after illness, breaks etc. So I’m seeing improvements and sometimes not FTP related but the ability to ride harder for longer and repeatability.

@hoeni2000 I would say if you’re nailing all your workouts and that means just being able to get through some of them then as others have said your FTP may be set too low - bump it a up a few percent and see if you can still nail them. Some are designed to really push you - and should only just be achievable (like Mary Austin). When you say only 18-19 minutes, you’re only about 30 seconds off before you see some type of improvement (19:30 break even point? not sure) - so, are you going as hard as you need to? Are you bailing early of failing? If you’re bailing and not giving it a fair crack or don’t want to go that hard - and no one would judge you or call you out on this - bump up your FTP manually a few Watts every few weeks and see how you get on. Personally I like the live FTP estimate showing and I enjoy pushing myself to that failure point - I know many would like not to. Or it maybe that you have indeed hit a plateau and need to alter the way you are stressing your body for adaptations but remember your FTP neither defines you as a person or your cycling ability - it’s one number/metric and only personal to you .

If you keep stressing your body you will adapt and should get better over time.

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I still see steady gains after close to two years and I am already closing in on 5 watts per kg. Hopefully reach that target next year or the year after.

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After about a year, I saw my FTP gains plateau a little bit, but found that I was easily able to get that flat line tilting back upwards by adjusting my training in other ways. The most valuable thing for me has been adding volume, and along with that adding consistency.

My first FTP test in January '18 put me at 253w. Sticking with low volume plans I increased my FTP to 279w in July '18, and then 298 in August '18. I plateaued a bit during the cyclocross season, took a break over the holidays, and came back in January '19 at around 270w.

I spent my 2019 road season experimenting with a paid coach, and my volume during the year increased to somewhere between a low- and mid-volume TR plan. My FTP hit 301 during the '19 road season, and hovered around there again until cx and some rest over the holidays took their toll. So this was about a year with no real advancement in my FTP.

In 2020 I dropped the coach and came back to the TR plans fully. With the free time afforded by the pandemic I moved up to a mid-volume plan, and brought my FTP up from 301w in January '20 to 324w in May '20. This period marked my highest volume and best adherence to the training plans. I also lost 15lbs between the beginning of 2020 and now (from 176lbs to ~162), sending me from 3.77 w/kg to 4.3w/kg in the span of about 5-6 months.

I think that additional ftp increases are going to be very hard fought, but I’m focusing on other aspects of improvement based on my goal events (should racing ever return) - 5m power, 30s power, w/kg, mental toughness, and so on.

I’m sure that I could bring my FTP up further still, with more volume and better adherence, and that this is probably true for most TR athletes. I think the point of diminishing returns has less to do with athletes touching on their genetic limits, and more about touching upon the limits imposed by work/training/life balance, and the other aspects of riding/racing that keeps cycling fun and motivation high.

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